For the past few days I have been obsessed with reading “Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It” by Gary Taubes. Straight-up: reading this book will shock you. Gary basically turns all the things we have learned about food, and dieting on it’s head (calories in, calories out? Nah folks. It is NOT that simple, and the food pyramid is a sham, btw.).
I’m still reading the book (and becoming more shocked as the days go on), but the thing that has impressed me the most (besides the wealth of eye-opening info) is that Gary has no problem taking on conventional wisdom. He questions the data that health-promoting organizations have reported for years. In fact, he said he is willing to risk his reputation with this information. The man is a relentless researcher. And we all know, good research starts with a good question.
Naturally, I am applying this thinking to the issues (career, life balance, general confusion and disillusion) that Gen Y is facing today. One of the hardest things we have to get over on our quest to build the fabulous life that we want, is our aversion to questioning the things we have been told.
Most of us grew up following instructions. We were told that if we followed a strict, set of rules, life would be good for us. We never questioned it. After all, what reason did we have to do so? When you give us a task, and spell it out for us, we will complete it with “rock-star-esq” like results. We take directions, and follow them. Giving it all we got because we want the praise that comes at the end. (Yep, we were also raised to be praise-whores, too.)
And now, we are discovering that this model of following instructions blindly, and never questioning things, is not working for us. Some of us are stuck. Others are disgruntled. We are all slightly confused. And if we don’t figure out how to make sense of what is happening in our lives (the eternal battle between what we are told we SHOULD do versus what we really WANT to do) we will rapidly become more jaded as the years go by until we turn into THOSE people.
You know, those people who are not happy with their meager existence, but have become too complacent to do anything about it.
Nope, peeps. We DO NOT want that to happen to us. But the older we get, and the more we just kind of “accept” the things that happen in life versus proactively making things happen in our lives, the closer we get to succumbing to a life of settled average-ness.
So, by this point, you may be wondering what is the solution? What EXACTLY can we do not to become one of THOSE people. After all, we’re Gen Y. We would like a list of directions, and if it has bullet points, we really wouldn’t be mad at it.
But there are no bulleted-lists involved in this answer. Because the key to avoiding average-ness, is to QUESTION effing EVERYTHING. ( I don’t think I’ve used caps so many times in a post before, but hell, this is important.) Don’t just accept what you’ve been told. There is absolutely nothing wrong with questioning conventional wisdom. Life isn’t a+b+=c. There is a lot of room for discovery, and how will you know what turns you on (and I mean this in the most PG of ways) if you don’t go explore?
Which conventions do you think we should question? I would love to hear YOUR ideas.